Thursday, 22 September 2016

Autumn is offically upon us

 During the Autumn season, fungi can be seen in abundance if you know where to look.  This Boletus is an edible variety, but I would not choose this specimen as it is growing in an area where I know there has been spraying of weed killer.
 Another clear sign of Aurumn is when the normally absent summer birds appear on the bird feeders as natural food is getting a little scarce.  I love to see the Long Tailed Tits in the garden at this time of year.  The Goldfinches will soon be back.
 Rose Bay Willowherb is shedding its fairy seeds.  These seeds will spread this annoying weed across gardens and farmland countrywide.  It is a plant that will sucessfully colonise any bare ground.
Of course, the classic sign of Autumn is the leaf fall.  We will soon be kicking leaves around the street again (and imported Christmas goods will soon be in all of the shops!).

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Go fly a kite

 A couple of months ago I received a pterosaur kite from a company in Dorset.  With such good weather and a bit of time to spare, now was a good time to go fly a kite.  This little beast is assembled and just needs two spars and a flight line attaching to spread its wings.
 A minor adjustment to the harness and a tug on the cord did the job.
 Now I can say I have flown a pterosaur over the hills and far away.  It is a long time since I have flown a kite.  The last time I seriously did so was at an event in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
 Back home and its a bread treat for supper.  This is a milk soda bread with honey and dill.  It takes 10 minutes to mix and warm up the oven, 15 minutes to bake and 20 minutes to cool.
 This bread is a bit like a firm piece of cake.
Goes well with a tuna and bean salad on a sunny September evening in the garden.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Trentham Monkey Forest

Today we spent the morning in Hanley and ventured home for lunch.  I had been intending to visit the Monkey Forest for some time to see the youngsters and this afternoon turned out to be the day.

Here are a few pictures that I took on our visit.

Phew! what an interesting day........
These are Barbary macaques and they are free roaming so that visitors can see them at close quarters.  Well worth a visit if you like this sort of thing.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

I hate coding bugs

Over the last two days, I have been encoding a PHP app to list the museums on my Pterosaur Database.  It was one of those times when an invisible gremlin invades the mind.  This program just would not run correctly - and I could not see why.
Here, the numbers at the top of the print are there to see how many times the selection tests are activated.  Every time, the software is showing me that it is flowing correctly, but it would not do the job.  Hours of checking and re-scripting was getting me nowhere fast.  Have a cuppa, go for a walk have another go - nothing was right.  Argh!!
Then in a moment of chance and delight, I spotted the culprit - A lower case c where I needed an upper case C.  Basic student error?  OK, no one will know if I keep quiet about it.......
Life can be a problem at times and it is always the little things that tip the balance between sanity and frustration.  All is well now and the data search is working as I intended it to do.

Time to remove the tomato plants from the greenhouse.  That should be less demanding of my sanity.
Another job done.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Piglet's Porter

I have been looking for a Pilatus Porter to add to my simulated fleet for some time and have just found this Freeware version by Tim Conrad (Piglet's Peculiar Planes).  It is a Pilatus PC-6C H2 Turbo Porter.
For a first trip I decided to fly this sim aircraft from Papa Stour in the Shetlands, to Fair Isle.
The general layout and texture of the model is very good.  It also handles well on the ground and at take off, and with restricted forward visibility the low side windows are very useful for runway control.
The handling on approach to Fairisle was straight forward and this model is a good aircraft to fly and control first time around.
The Turbo Porter needed about 1000 feet of runway for a standard landing.  Ground handling requires a higher level of skill than aircraft with a trike undercarriage.
I can see why many uitility pilots like this aircraft.  It is a very functional machine on short runways.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Back to our garden

 This week I got around to lifting the canopy of our fir tree and tulip tree.  This has opened up more of the garden to sunlight.

 The last of the potatoes have now been lifted.  The end of the crop always has a number of tubers that are unusable due to slug damage.  I now need to be imaginative with the host of little spuds.
 The new fence has settled down and with the growth of plants, it looks as if it has always been there now.  The new clematis climbing up the stick in the corner has just opened its first flower.

 This little chappie looks like a garden ornament in this picture.
It is a different story when he is on someones arm.  It is not often that you get to meet a kookaburra in Stoke!  What a laugh.....

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

In another garden

Over the weekend, our car shed its fanbelt.  The engine coolant boiled and blew out through the seal cap.  This is the first fanbelt problem I have personnaly experienced in many years of driving.  Fortunately, my local mechanics were able to fit me in to their busy schedule and the car was restored to full working order yesterday, with just a few tweeks.  It had to be a cash transaction though, as their card machine was broken and they were having to wait for a replacement machine to be delivered. ("It's difficult to get the parts when they are stored overseas!")

To test out the car, and celebrate its return, we took a ride to a nearby garden centre where they have a show garden, and the all important good cafe.
A gap in the rain allowed us to wander at will and take some photographs.
I particularly like the patio arangement in the traditional flower garden.
The pond is also a joy to behold.
....And of course the bees are a constant presence around the flowers at this time of year.